Saturday, April 29, 2006

Live Review - Be Your Own Pet - Sheffield Leadmill - Saturday 22nd April 2006.

It isn't exactly "Zig a Zig Aah" nowadays, but the Rock and Roll industry is currently doing its best to promote the female of the species. Since Meg White beat down hard on her dusty drum kit in 2002 to liven up what was a stagnate time for women in rock, there has been a rush of women striving to be the icon that a thousand indie-chicks in skinny jeans want to be.

Shining magnificently like a last-chance distress flare is the blonde, delicate yet explosive, Jemina Pearl, lead singer of 'Be Your Own Pet', who are playing Sheffield's Leadmill as they near the end of their recent tour - an end which has seen the Nashville punksters finally release their eponymous album. An album, that can be described quite safely, as a 15 track rush of blood to the feet.

Being somewhat of beautiful nature, Pearl does well to ignore the many dropped jaws from the male fraternity of the crowd. Indeed, rarely has their been so many a man at the front of a gig, holding on to their territory at the front like a pubescent alsation. Starting off with the band's most vocally shared track 'Fill My Pill', the band disregard any casual introduction to their watchers as they storm into the 2-minute, beautifully unstructured firecracker of a song. As the words "Get out of my skin!!!" leave Pearl's lips without a fuss, the crowd are fired a 'don't fuck with me' warning. They won't, although you wouldn’t blame them for trying.

Leaving current single 'Adventure' out of tonight's set, the band lay an explosive benchmark. Instead, BYOP make sure the crowd that took an interest in heavier paced early singles 'Let's Get Sandy' and 'Damn Damn Leash' are rewarded. As Pearl's tiny frame ricochets around the stage throughout these songs, it's clear that if there is any such combination of elegance and out of control ferocity then we are witnessing it tonight. She is not on her own though, as each member of the band seems willing to outdo each other.
Only some needless spitting into the crowd by BYOP's afro-headed bassist deters from a band intent on baring their musical insides.

Of course, Pearl wouldn't be here today if she didn't have guts. She takes front stage willingly and effortlessly. She is very much the rebel, and she confesses with no remorse, "I'm an independent mother fucker, and I'm here to take your money" on the brutal 'Bunk Trunk Skunk'. However, it is also the submissive and naïve side to her voice, which she sometimes helplessly and wonderfully falls into, which makes you fall in love with her. During 'Wildcat', Pearl talks of a playmate, "We are chasing each other and taking turns." You'd love it if she was talking about you wouldn't you?

Ending with the riff-laden, call to arms-esque, 'We Will Vacation You Can Be My Parasol', BYOP ensure the crowd knows they've earned their sweat. With hooks so glorious you'd think Sir Paul McCartney was backstage orchestrating the whole show, it's surprising BYOP haven't made it bigger commercially. Considering they've got the most heart-wrenchingly dazzling woman seen on a sweaty stage since this thing called Rock and Roll became a habit, the band should already have a couple of 20 singles under their belt. They look good, and sound fucking righteous. But if music this good is going to be impaired by Miss Pearl getting distracted and famous, then I'm all for brushing BYOP under a carpet so only I know about them. This is punk how I like it - sassy, sexy, catchy and fast. Leave the ballads to Fat Spice will you?

words by Michael Brunt

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